His big brown eyes wide open and his soft pleading voice, “please mama, one more time.” I of course would relent. Max would snuggle his little head against me and I would start, “llama, llama red pajama”. Between age 3 and 4 I read “Llama, Llama Red Pajama” almost every night to Max. He loved that book. However, as he grew up, the book became “too baby” and it was shoved to the back of the bookshelf.
Recently Lucy has developed fears – irrational fears — and for a child who is painfully logical this has been challenging (both for her and me). Bedtime has become a time of unbridled terror. Lucy shakes and cries and lists a string of fears that would frighten even the most stalwart safety officer. She fears everything from tornadoes, to bad guys breaking in, to a bomb in our house. In one minute she will admit the absurdity and the next she will shake in fear. I’ve tried several things to help her get past this stage but nothing has helped. Recently, she begged me to let Harper sleep in her room. I agreed, and before I could finish my sentence Max had moved in as well.
As I tucked the girls into the bed, and Max on the floor, Harper asked for me to read her a story. All of her books were in her room and I didn’t have the energy to slink down the stairs so I dug through Max’s bookshelf and tucked away was “Llama, Llama Red Pajama”. I opened the book and started, “Llama, Llama Red Pajama reads a book with his mama”. Max sat straight up and Lucy leaned over. I sung my way through the book, incorporating all the sound effects and hand motions that I did with Max. The kids laughed and squealed and the last page was finally turned. Max quietly said, “I love that book. I remember you reading that to me. I love when you read to us.”
The next night everybody was snuggled in and the book came out. Max sat up and said “can I read it to Harper?” I handed him the book and in his soft voice he quietly and slowly glided over the words, doing his best to duplicate my sound effects and voice inflection. He turned the pages carefully, looking at each picture. When finished he looked up at me and said “I don’t read it as good as you. Can you read it again?” I assured Max that he read it just fine and that a second reading wasn’t necessary. Harper stood up in the bed and screamed “Sissy turn! Sissy turn!” So Lucy grabbed the book from Harper and she read it. She flew through the rhymes, screaming at every exclamation point and finished the book in two seconds. Harper then yelled “mama turn!! mama turn!!” Lucy, Max and I all looked at each other and laughed in understanding, knowing that a toddler’s demands are not easily dismissed. I read it again and as I read the last line of the book, “Baby llama fell asleep”, Max said, “and that is exactly what I’m going to do. Night, night mama. I love you.”
I got up from the bed to see my three little Llamas all tucked into their beds, snuggled close to each other. *snap* memory captured.